Revelation: Yea or Nah and Why?

I am going to present what I THINK is the condition of the Catholic Church today as espoused by the Magisterium and interpreted by Catholic scholars and apologists (again from my understanding). After this, I will ask why I should believe this “condition” is a condition that should exist in God’s church. From my reading on this and similar subjects I will offer what I think might be a “Catholic Answer,” but since I do not accept this as a valid answer I will explain my thoughts. At the end I will offer some thoughts on what would undermine my thesis.

I propose:
The condition of the Catholic Church today is that the Pope, the college of the Cardinals, the Magisterium, and any Catholic authority (Bishops gathered in an Ecumenical or Local Council or dispersed throughout the world) are not inspired (and do not receive public revelation) for the teaching of the faith and resolving controversies within the church. BTW, I use the term “public revelation” to mean revelation for the corporate leading / teaching of the church. If you want to use a different term for the “revelation for the corporate leading / teaching of the church” we can explore that term.

Vatican I outlines Papal Infallibility and while the language is less clear than what I am about to share explains that Papal Infallibility is not inspiration or revelation to solve theological controversies. Do I misread?

The CCC under the heading, “There will be no further Revelation.” Says:

The Christian economy, therefore, since it is the new and definitive Covenant, will never pass away; and no new public revelation is to be expected before the glorious manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

This comes from Dei Verbum one of the Vatican II documents.

From Apologist Patrick Madrid (Pope Fiction p. 140):

The only pope who was inspired and who received revelation from God to be given to the whole Church was Simon Peter. After he went home to his heavenly reward, all the subsequent popes have had to do their job of teaching and preserving the deposit of faith the old fashion way: They learned it.

From Apologist Dave Amstrong (bolding mine):

The grace of conservation is different from the grace of positive Inspiration and Revelation in that no new realities are revealed; but the grace of conservation is equally inerrant in the Church as a whole, since it is a grace, a supernatural gift preserving what was once revealed by positive Inspiration and now repeated substantially in non-inspired words

, sacramental actions, authoritative decisions by the Apostles’ successors and in Scripture communally understood.

I am not suggesting that apparitions of Mary or Eucharistic miracles are incongruent with the Catholic faith. I am not suggesting that a Catholic cannot pray to know what job to take and be inspired by God to choose this or that. Even a Pope may have a vision that helps him (but were he to have a vision, he would be incorrect if he believed it was divine revelation delivered to him as the Vicar of Christ for the purpose of leading the Catholic Church, he could believe it was God strengthening him for his tasks or … but not revelation for the purpose of leading the Catholic Church).
I am saying that the inspiration/revelation evident in the New Testament, the Council of Jerusalem, and the Old Testament; is absent in the Catholic Church today.

The above illustrates what I called the “condition.”
Catholics and I agree that Peter is the only inspired leader that Catholic believes lead the Catholic Church. Catholics and I agree that all those who Catholics claim succeeded Peter at the head of the Catholic Church are not inspired in their leadership duties.

Why is this?
I propose a Catholic answer and a non-Catholic answer. One is that there is something important to God’s way of interacting with His children through His Church that is absent after the death of the inspired men who lived in the First Century. The other is that God after the First Century came to a close never intended to have inspired men lead His Church via Divine Revelation until Christ’s return to the earth to take His place as King of Kings. For the Catholic Church to teach infallibly the latter of these two options must be true and if it is the CoJCoLDS cannot be a restoration of God’s chruch.

So, what is it within the Bible or other ancient witness that would lend support to the Catholic view (other than that revelation inside the Catholic Church actually did cease)? Where in sacred scripture (preferably) or sacred tradition (I would like to review) does God explain that there would be no more revelation to guide His church.
Now, the God we worship saved the world by the act of Joseph’s brothers selling him into slavery. In some sense everything that happens happens because it is in alignment with God’s will. But I am looking for something that might come from an inspired man that explains that the church will be led by non-inspired men. What inspired utterances tell me to expect the ceasing of inspired utterances?

There are a number of scriptures used by both sides in these discussions.
Revelation 22:18. Virtually all scholars believe this was not chronologically the last inspired text written during the early church. It could not mean that revelation would cease or 3rd John would not be revelation.
John 19:30. I do not see any reason to believe this is intended to explain no more revelation. That the atonement was complete, the bitter cup was drunk, yes. But revelation continued in God’s church.
Matthew 24:11 and 1 John 4:1 Warning against false prophets. But if inspiration was to cease why not say that rather than suggest that some folks would be false prophets. The easiest way to protect the church is to say, “no more prophets after I, John die.” And like Revelation 22:18 some inspired writing likely happened after both Matthew and 1st John.
Galatians 1:8. This is a common scripture used to show the CoJCoLDS is not what it claims to be. But, surely Paul who experiences something on the road to Damascus is not telling us that such heavenly manifestations cannot occur, cannot result in a call to the be an apostle of Christ (and receive revelation and write scripture and …). He is saying that a gospel opposed to the gospel of Christ is not valid. We should test such things and not believe just because it is supernatural it is of God.
1 Tim 6:14 & Titus 2:13. I think the first tells Timothy keep the commandments until Christ returns and the second just points to Christ’s return. Most folks look to these and similar verses to suggest that Paul and many Christians expect Christ’s return to be soon, but I am not sure that has much impact on deciding this question.

Concerning the ECF, I only did a cursory look. I believe Clement of Alexandria declared that all revelation was done sometime around 70AD. Clement was declaring this in the third century. Most scholars date 3rd John after this, but IMO it would be hard to argue that Clement’s observation was a product of Divine Tradition rather than a product of assessing the historical reality. I do not dispute that by Clement’s time the memory of inspired individuals was long gone. I am looking for some inspired individual giving me any reason to believe this was the way it would be. Not some intelligent observer commenting that this is the way it has been since before he was born.

What to demonstrate that would show my thesis is in error.

  1. I misread Catholic teaching and inspiration/revelation exists within the Catholic Church today as it did in the Council of Jerusalem.
  2. If I do not misread, then maybe it is possible to show God intended for revelation to cease. God intended a “sea change” in the way he lead his church. No longer would God inspire leaders to teach the faith, but he would give them a Chrism of infallibility to protect the deposit of faith. And the “sea change” would not be at the coming of Christ, the death of Christ, or the Ascension of Christ, but a “sea change” at the death of the last inspired man (be he John or ???).
    Maybe the scriptures I already offered are more powerful than I think?

It of course is my position that this absence of inspired leaders is something that needed to be restored and that having been restored there is a continuity created in God’s church that is absent during periods were we have no record or inspired men leading God’s church.

Were I Catholic, I would know of little to suggest the way of leading the church is the way the church should be lead other than it is the way that obtained in reality. I could acknowledge the continuity argument I am making bears down upon the Catholic Church’s position, but for a myriad of other reasons I would not find this pro-LDS argument compelling. And I can also say that without the CoJCoLDS I would not view the absence of revelation/inspiration within Catholicism to be such a flaw that I would not be Catholic.

As a LDS I find it compelling in a simple say that makes folks go “ah! I see!” Of course many of these folks are LDS or already very open to being LDS so perhaps they are not a particularly representative audience.
Charity, TOm

I’m still digesting you post. But I will start with saying the following:

Public Revelation ended with the death of the last Apostle. The Pope does not receive Public Revelation. The Church was provided with the Deposit of Faith from the Apostles and safe guards and teaches from it.

The Church is Infallible because Christ and The Holy Spirit will not allow the Church to officially teach error. Humans in the Church (including Bishops) can be wrong though and teach in error, but the official teaching of the Church cannot.

The Pope is infallible as an extension of the Church’s infallibility. If a Pope were to attempt to teach error, The Holy Spirit would end his reign if necessary, as God did once before.

God still reveals Himself via Private Revelation, but the Public Revelation ended when the last Apostle died.

I don’t think you understand the whole of revelation of the Church… The Leaders of the Church are inspired men but are part of the Church… (people united in One Faith)… So they might have revelations but they are private revelations not public revelations…

Here’s how I understand it… Gods revelations didn’t cease, but the last ‘private’ revelations of the ‘Church’ ended with the last Apostle John and the book of revelation which would prevent any doctrinal error in the future. So any revelations which came after that is considered unreliable or they must agree with the only private revelations received by those who received them and are in the bible…That way if something is of public revelation and approved by doctrine, it would have a history behind it. For example, many people would receive the same revelation throughout the centuries and there would be some ‘fruit’ of that revelation, (so it already happened) and would not contradict Church teaching or the bible…Than it can be approved like with the beliefs of Mary and how we’ve received revelations about the Eucharist as we have grown as a Church… Many people experiencing the same thing would edify that that revelation is of merit and came from that same deposit of faith that the apostles had so may be approved as a doctrinal belief.

This may help understand that…

2 Peter 1:20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things.21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

The first issue would be defining “public revelation”. Please establish that your definition of public revelation (“revelation for the corporate leading / teaching of the church.”) is the definition that is being used by Catholics. To me, it is not, and is therefore the foundational problem with your argument.

Others can correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that “public revelation” is referring to the Deposit of Faith, all that is necessary for salvation. You can find this definition reflected here, here, and in the Catechism definition of public vs private revelation, stating that private revelation does not belong to the Deposit of Faith. Catholics believe that the Deposit of Faith is complete, and nothing else will be added to it. As you can see, your definition of public revelation is not the Catholic understanding.

Having said that, it is quite clear from Catholic documents that Catholics believe that God guides the Church through the Spirit, the Spirit is intimately involved in the workings of the Church, that the leaders of the Church can receive Divine assistance, etc etc. Based on all of that, I see no difference in how the Church functioned in the New Testament, and how it has functioned down the ages. We believe that the Spirit was involved in protecting the Council of Jerusalem, and we believe that same Spirit was involved in all Ecumenical Councils of the Church. Catholics believe that it is through the Holy Spirit that we come to greater and deeper understandings of the Deposit of Faith.

Here is what the Catechism teaches:

***77 “In order that the full and living Gospel might always be preserved in the Church the apostles left bishops as their successors. They gave them ‘their own position of teaching authority.’”35 Indeed, “the apostolic preaching, which is expressed in a special way in the inspired books, was to be preserved in a continuous line of succession until the end of time.

78 This living transmission, accomplished in the Holy Spirit*, is called Tradition, since it is distinct from Sacred Scripture, though closely connected to it. Through Tradition, “the Church, in her doctrine, life, and worship perpetuates and transmits to every generation all that she herself is, all that she believes.”37 “The sayings of the holy Fathers are a witness to the life-giving presence of this Tradition, showing how its riches are poured out in the practice and life of the Church, in her belief and her prayer.”

79 The Father’s self-communication made through his Word in the Holy Spirit, remains present and active in the Church: “God, who spoke in the past, continues to converse with the Spouse of his beloved Son. And the Holy Spirit, through whom the living voice of the Gospel rings out in the Church—and through her in the world—leads believers to the full truth, and makes the Word of Christ dwell in them in all its richness.

81 “Sacred Scripture is the speech of God as it is put down in writing under the breath of the Holy Spirit.” And [Holy] Tradition transmits in its entirety the Word of God which has been entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit. It transmits it to the successors of the apostles so that, enlightened by the Spirit of truth, they may faithfully preserve, expound, and spread it abroad by their preaching.”

85 “The task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God, whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition, has been entrusted to the living, teaching office of the Church alone. Its authority in this matter is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ.”47 This means that the task of interpretation has been entrusted to the bishops in communion with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome.

86 “Yet this Magisterium is not superior to the Word of God, but is its servant. It teaches only what has been handed on to it. At the divine command and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it listens to this devotedly, guards it with dedication, and expounds it faithfully. All that it proposes for belief as being divinely revealed is drawn from this single deposit of faith.

91 All the faithful share in understanding and handing on revealed truth. They have received the anointing of the Holy Spirit, who instructs them53 and guides them into all truth.

93 “By this appreciation of the faith, aroused and sustained by the Spirit of truth, the People of God, guided by the sacred teaching authority (Magisterium),… receives… the faith, once for all delivered to the saints…. The People unfailingly adheres to this faith, penetrates it more deeply with right judgment, and applies it more fully in daily life.”

94 Thanks to the assistance of the Holy Spirit, the understanding of both the realities and the words of the heritage of faith is able to grow in the life of the Church

892 Divine assistance is also given to the successors of the apostles, teaching in communion with the successor of Peter, and, in a particular way, to the bishop of Rome, pastor of the whole Church, when, without arriving at an infallible definition and without pronouncing in a “definitive manner,” they propose in the exercise of the ordinary Magisterium a teaching that leads to better understanding of Revelation in matters of faith and morals. To this ordinary teaching the faithful "are to adhere to it with religious assent"422 which, though distinct from the assent of faith, is nonetheless an extension of it.**

I think the OP belongs in the apologetics forum. :slight_smile:

Yes, the opening argument is a strawman. Good reply. :thumbsup:

Thanks for the reply. Everything you said aligns with my understanding if infallibility and the concept of public and privatemail revelation .
I will say that what you said might also align with what I will call the “key word” definition of "public revelation Living Waters offers. What do you mean when you say Public Revelation ended?
Charity, TOm

Thanks for the reply.
I was unable to understand what position you took.
I will try to as LW and Rebecca questions.
Perhaps you can clarify for me.
Charity, TOm

Hi Tom, I read the other responses and they are basically saying the same thing though mine in more laymans terms…

I’ll try to help you see again in more of a laymans terms…

The Holy Spirit of God that was breathed upon the Church is unchanging. God never changes but people do… and so God cannot contradict Himself…We believe the bible to be the inspired word of God so that is true so is the teaching of those scriptures which the Church holds true…The scriptures themselves aren’t the teacher, the Church is the teacher of the truths of God and these truths can be found in the Catechism so we all share in the same faith as the Apostles holding to the truths of the faith taught by Jesus Christ and given to the Apostles and passed down through the Church with the help of the Holy Spirit who is the advocate keeping the truths of our faith… The scriptures themselves support the beliefs of the Church in order to increase the faith of those who read it…

Sooo… if whatever revelations come to people after the scriptures were written contradicts the scriptures or the belief contradicts the faith of the Apostles and the holy men of the Church who were inspired to put the bible together, than it is unreliable prophesy and would not be acceptable as public prophesy of the Church or a doctrinal belief… But if you have many many many people of the Church who believe in something and it is inline with the basic beliefs of the apostolic faith and it bears fruit…Like the apparitions of Mary which have shown to have caused people to heal or change in a positive way and does not contradict the basic beliefs of the Church from the start, than that prophesy can be of merit as a true prophesy of God and may be added as a doctrinal belief… If one person experiences some revelation, it wouldn’t be an acceptable public prophesy of the Church but a revelation of that persons alone… So might be considered unreliable because the personal thoughts of that individual man came into play which could interfere with Gods revelation…All that said, each person has the ability to prophesy on any of the mysteries of God, like the trinity, the Eucharist, delving them deeper into the spirit of God and allowing them to see more than they could into Gods life if they didn’t have the eyes of faith (while still holding onto the basic truths found in the Church)…So prophesy without denying the basic truths of our faith can lead us more into Gods life so we have a relationship with Him with our being able to see the truths of God more clearly and deeply… :slight_smile:

Oh I know that was a mouthful… I hope you can understand what I am saying… :shrug:

This passage may help you understand about prophesizing a little better… Now St. Paul is speaking to the body of Christ which is the Church… He’s not speaking about one person individually but all collectively…

Humble Service in the Body of Christ
Romans 12:3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 **We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

We all have different gifts, but one faith (not many faiths) that’s why it says ‘your faith’… So we must stay inline with the truths of our One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church…

Love in Action**

Now that I am off my phone I thought I would add a small bit in that might be germane to what I am reading from Living Waters.
10 years ago as I was researching Papal Infallibility I was taught an important and interesting concept that aligns well with what you have said here.
I was asked by a Catholic friend, “If the Pope was infallible in Math, what grade would he get on a Math test?”
I said 100%.
He said, “No, the Pope could get any grade from 0% to 100% on the test, but ANY answer he provided (did not leave blank) would be correct. He may know zero answers, but if he choose to answer any question and did, it would be correct.”
If I can get some more time tonight I will try to provide an answer to LivingWaters and other posts.
Charity, TOm

:confused: That does not make any sense, nor does is it a correct analogy to the Catholic belief on papal infallibility.

LivingWaters and Rebecca,
Thank you for your reply.
First, I read your two links that you use to derive the Catholic specific definition of “public revelation.” I do not dispute any aspect of that definition, I just expect that the term “public revelation” when contrasted with “private revelation” contains a connotation similar to the one I offer IN ADDITION to the “inside baseball” definition you insist upon. But, I do not care too much. Let us use the term “corporate revelation” as defined by TOm as revelation delivered to leaders of God’s church for the purpose of teaching the faith and resolving conflicts. I submit that Peter and the Council of Jerusalem were inspired and receive “corporate revelation” and EVERY person you would call a Pope are not inspired such that they can receive “corporate revelation.”

Now, unless there is something really weird in your response to me, you have attacked my thesis at point #1. You are claiming that the Pope is inspired and receives revelation in the same way Peter did. In addition you are denying that Patrick Madrid and Dave Armstrong are properly explaining the faith. How can I pull out of your words what is true and align it with Patrick Madrid, or should I understand that you disagree with Patrick Madrid and I now need to understand who is correct and who is not correct. To me you and Patrick Madrid seem contradictory such that a synthesis is impossible. You cannot both be describing the Catholic Church.

I also read your excerpt from the CCC. I am not trying to introduce a trick into this conversation. I will concede that the Catholics believe that the Holy Spirit protects the Catholic Church from error. That it would be inappropriate to say that God has abandoned the Catholic Church and is not active in her continued teaching and decisions.
What I am saying is that if Catholicism is God’s church, there is a NEW form of interaction between God and His Church that is not IMO evident in the Bible. This interaction is different than what happened at the Council of Jerusalem, it is different from the inspiration Peter as the head of God’s church after Christ’s ascension received.
I will concede that if what Catholicism claims to be true is true this is not a situation that is insufficient to facilitate the salvation of Catholics or the guidance of the church towards truth. But, if I understand well, it is DIFFERENT than what happened in the New Testament and in the Old Testament Church.

So, if your message is that Patrick Madrid does not understand the Catholic faith, I will look to a resolution outside of either of you. Alternatively you can explain to me how Patrick Madrid can understand Catholicism and align what he says with what you say.

Charity, TOm

I confess it is difficult to not take offense at the way you characterize my best understanding of Catholic teaching on this.
Please align for me what you say with the quotes I offer from Patrick Madrid.
From Apologist Patrick Madrid (Pope Fiction p. 140):

The only pope who was inspired and who received revelation from God to be given to the whole Church was Simon Peter. After he went home to his heavenly reward, all the subsequent popes have had to do their job of teaching and preserving the deposit of faith the old fashion way: They learned it.

It seems to me that claiming I am offering a strawman and not responding to it works well here on the forums.
It will not however cause me to believe that all of my efforts to understand Catholic teaching are in error and should be abandoned. My continual expression of the best understanding I have may have little effect here, but it is my thoughts that I do understand something.
Charity, TOm


If Tom wants an honesty conversation about revelation with an honest desire to “present … the condition of the Catholic Church today as espoused by the Magisterium…” he would use the present definitions of terms as used by the Catholic Church. He would accept what he is told by the Catholics on this forum as supported by the CCC.

If Tom wants to proselytize, then he would insist on using his definitions for terms all the while feigning a desire AGAIN to understand Catholicism.

And great pains will be made to maintain the straw man.


Yes, maybe it is coincidence, but seems to me the long silent Mormon posters have followed TK here, or they came as one. I sense a performance, encouraged by recent events.

I noticed but I’m not sure what recent events have caused it.

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